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L. Towamensing OKs DEP soil testing

Published October 11. 2018 12:30PM

Lower Towamensing Township supervisors on Tuesday evening approved allowing the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to test soil at Stoney Ridge Park and Recreation Center on Fireline Road.

In addition to the park, the supervisors also approved allowing them to do this testing at any other township facility.

DEP sent a letter to the township in September asking for permission to do air quality monitoring and soil testing. The letter said the work is part of its investigation of the area surrounding the American Zinc Recycling plant in Palmerton.

The investigation grew out of recommendations made by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry in a written response in July following an analysis of data it had conducted.

The agency analyzed the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s air modeling results and evaluated the state DEP’s air monitoring data to come to the recommendations it made in the letter.

“Based on the available modeled and monitored data, the agency concluded that a public health hazard is likely for young children and/or pregnant women living within 3 miles of the American Zinc Recycling facility in Palmerton from exposure to lead in outdoor air,” the letter to the township stated.

DEP said it has developed a sampling and analysis plan to detect the levels of lead, zinc, nickel, cadmium, chromium and copper in the soils as a result of aerial deposition. The tests include sampling surface soils and/or using an X-ray fluorescence survey to identify deposition in the soil, as well as a particle deposition for ground-level air concentrations.

Stoney Ridge Park was selected as a site for testing because it is used by families with children. Schools, day cares and other similar sites frequented by children were listed as priority locations for the testing in DEP’s letter to the township. The results of the testing will be provided to the township and will state if there is a risk to public health or if the results are below levels of concern.

No specific date for the testing was stated in the letter.


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